Get Them While They’re Young

The rains of winter are still in progress, and along with it is the veritable carpet of green that now surrounds us. Plants may be growing, especially the ones you don’t want – the weeds in your garden.

You know the saying – a weed is simply any plant in a place you don’t want it. Are you seeing grasses, dandelions, bindweed and even wild blackberry, popping up in your lawn, flower beds, vegetable gardens or other exposed spaces; even in teeny spaces between bricks on your patio?  What’s a gardener to do with such a bounty of weeds?

Often the easiest and fastest answer is to whip out the weed killer.  You won’t see instant results, but with a minimum of labor, anything sprayed with the product will die in the coming weeks. However, with a bit of effort, you CAN have immediate results while protecting people, pets, wildlife and the environment from potentially toxic herbicides. 

Here are ways to tackling your weeds.  Commit to 10 to 15 minute increments of weed pulling a couple times a week and snagging some family to do the same, you can get it done in a week or two. Some simple steps: :

  • Get them while they’re young – weeds with tender leaves and less developed roots are easier to extract.
  • Pull while the soil is still moist – as soil dries out it tightens its grip on roots. 
  • Yank them out before they develops seeds – if you’ve got tall weeds and can’t pull them, use a string trimmer to cut them down before they flower.
  • Get the whole thing, roots and all – grab the weed close to the ground and pull up, twisting the plant slightly as you remove it. Leaving even a portion of the roots is enough for them to regrow, especially those with deep taproots like dandelions.
  • Use tools for difficult spaces – an old screwdriver can help pry out those nasty ones shooting up between pavers or in the cracks of a driveway. For areas blanketed with tiny weeds, try a stirrup hoe, also known as a hula hoe. Push and pull the hoe just under the soil surface to loosen weeds for easy removal. 

Visit our Weeds page for more information on managing weeds.

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